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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner: Joins Voter-ID Law Challenge

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief with counterparts from Vermont and Missouri that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to scrap Indiana's voter-ID law as an unnecessary burden restricting citizen access to the polls. The Supreme Court plans to take up the case in January.

Ohio has a similar law -- adopted in 2006 after the Bush v. Kerry presidential election -- that requires voters to show some form of idenvtification when they cast ballots. Republicans contend the law will curtail election fraud; Democrats like Brunner say it will disenfranchise the urban poor and keep likely Democratic voters at bay.

John Michael Spinnelli at ePluribus Media correctly notes that the Supreme Court's ruling could have significant impact on the 2008 presidential election.

Brunner and others have said the voter-ID laws are about helping Republicans win elections, not preserving honesty at the polls. They say the Republicans have enacted the laws to control a "non-existent problem," and that there is no proof of widespread fraudulent voting or impersonation of voters. They contend the Republicans, by requiring ID's such as driver licenses or birth certificates be shown at the polls, have erected bureaucratic barriers. Republicans, however, fear cheating and point to 2004 voter registration forms in Ohio that included the names of cartoon characters and phoney addresses.

The complete text of the 31-page brief filed in the Supreme Court is available here. It describes the voter ID law as onerous.

"As officials responsible for overseeing elections under a variety of voter identification laws, amici have special insight into the issue raised by these cases. Their experience shows that there is virtually no evidence of voter impersonation fraud, the stated reason for the enactment of the Indiana law at issue here; that laws like Indiana's will effectively disenfranchise many eligible voters, particularly minorities, women, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor, while doing noting to prevent polling place voter impersonation fraud; and that in their States, and throughout the country, honest elections, free of polling place voter impersonation fraud, are held without onerous voter photo identification requirements of the type imposed by the State of Indiana.

"Amici have a strong interest in preserving and defending the integrity, fairness and openness of the electoral process that lies at the core or our democratic system of government, the legitimacy of which depends on ensuring that all eligible citizens are able to exercise the right to vote. They are concerned that the Court's resolution of the issues in the instant case will have a profound effect on election administration laws and future legislation in states beyond Indiana. They ask the Court to reaffirm the principle that the fundamental right to vote shall not be burdened unnecessarily to remedy an essentially non-existent problem."

Missouri Secretary of State Mary Carnahan issued a press release about the brief earlier this month and said there has not been a single case of voter impersonation fraud in her state in elections going back to 2000. She said a 2006 Missouri Supreme Court ruling struck down that state's voter-ID law. She said the court found that 240,000 people would have to get documents with a photo-ID in order to vote.


  1. I thought the last presidential election was held in 2004.

  2. 2004 was the Death of Democracy in Ohio and the USA... NOT a real election, by any means.

    Brunner, "...seems to want no part of lending the authority or resources of her office to digging for the truth..."
    (link for above quote is two paragraphs below)

    Jennifer Brunner would rather put energy into helping other states than deal with huge issues of the state she is SUPPOSED to represent (Ohio). She'd rather put Ohio election reform activists "out of a job" than stand-up for the citizens of Ohio.

    Excerpt below from Daily Kos by:
    John Michael Spinelli, a former Ohio Statehouse government and political reporter and business columnist. He now serves as the OhioNews Bureau Chief for ePluribus Media Journal.

    "...Ohio Boards of Election, many of whom failed to preserve their 2004 ballots in violation of a federal court order, who have not only been accepted by Brunner to sit on a group she’s convened to review the state’s electronic voting machinery, but who were chosen with help from the current Statehouse lobbyist for Ohio’s election officials who previously worked in 2003 as a lobbyist for Election System & Software, a vendor of electronic voting machines active in Ohio.

    Brunner, whose campaign consisted of bashing the partisanship of former Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and mouthing a mantra of making Ohio elections 'free, fair, open and honest' again, seems to want no part of lending the authority or resources of her office to digging for the truth of what happened in 2004.

    According to Brunner, 'These folks, I have to say, more power to them. They are pursuing something that they believe strongly in. My biggest concern, however, is preparing the state for a successful presidential election next year, so that maybe I can put these folks out of a job.'

    "'s all the more important that the power of that state that can only come from statewide office holders like Dann and Brunner, who spoke aggressively about what they would do regarding voting irregularities or fraud once in office, are needed. Brunner is apparently content to let the irregularities of 2004 fade with time and memory.

    Ohio voters probably didn’t think that when they elected Brunner last year, they’d end up with someone whose blinders prevent her from looking anywhere but right in front of her. By wrapping herself in sanctimoniously safe statements about only focusing on future elections, Brunner, a former judge who seems to have forgotten the value of evidence to a claim, seems to be running away from what she might find if she did enforce election law, as voters elected her to do."

    But, of course, Brunner believes it is more important to help other states with their voting and elections issues.

    I say BS !! Brunner was elected by Ohioans to oversee and fix a profoundly flawed Ohio election system that violates Ohio voters' rights.

  3. HI Lisa --

    Nice catch. The law was adopted in 2006 after the presidential election of 2004. Ooops. I'll go fix it. Thanks for being a proofreader . . .

  4. Hi Dave --

    Well, she's really not helping another state. If the Supreme Court stikes down the law in Indiana, then it most likely would strike down the voter ID law in Ohio,too. As I'm sure you know, the issue is framed broader than a single state cause.

  5. hee hee

    ya caught me Bill, but ya can't blame a guy for hackin' a bit for the cause!!

    At least I'm not running around the Ohiosphere writin' like I talk and claimin' to be a "Journalist."

    Oh OK... I won't go there!! But my OSU BA in Journalism helps me recognize good journalism from blogger hackery.

    You're a good "journalist" but the Ohiosphere mostly consists of hacks... some good and some bad.

    But, that's all relative and unjournalistic of me to position myself in such a way. Ah what the heck, if Jill can do it, so can I !!